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Vitamins are group of substances essential in the regulation of biochemical processes and metabolic functions of the body which can help release energy from food. There are vitamins that contain antioxidant properties which can help protect your cells and tissues from damage caused by free radicals.

There are 15 known vitamins and are categorised into two, the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) and water-soluble vitamins (B vitamins and C). Listed below are each vitamins functions and food sources: 

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a micronutrient and fat-soluble compound that is essential for healthy vision, growth, immune response and reproduction. The active form of it that is found in the body is called retinol, however, the one found in plants is called beta-carotene which needs to be converted into its active form so that the body can utilize it.

Food sources:

  • Vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, bell peppers, broccoli, squash)
  • Fruits (mangos, peaches, apricots, grapefruit, cantaloupe, papaya)
  • Liver (liver sausage, beef, chicken, lamb, pork and turkey liver)
  • Legumes, Nuts & Seeds (pistachios, green peas, black-eyed peas, apricot kernels)
  • Fish (king mackerel, salmon, bluefin tuna, herring)
  • Dairy Products (cheese, whole milk, cream, yoghurt)
  • Others (cod liver oil, butter, egg yolk, fortified oatmeal, paprika)

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READ MORE: Vitamin A for Healthy Vision, Immunity and Skin Integrity

 

B Vitamins

B vitamins play different key roles and functions in the body. It helps promote overall health & well-being and is essential for energy, cell metabolism and brain functions. Here are the following benefits that you can get from vitamin B complex: 

  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine) increases the body’s energy levels by turning carbohydrates into the energy our bodies need. It also gives us a positive mental attitude and a healthy nervous system.
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) helps boost immune system because it is essential in repairing tissues and fighting disease. It is also proven to be effective in the treatment of headaches.
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin) helps lower the harmful cholesterol levels in the body while boosting the levels of good cholesterol which helps in the reduction of heart disease.
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is known as the “anti-stress vitamin” and contains a substance called coenzyme which plays a vital role in cellular metabolism and adrenal function.
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) helps improve vision and support brain health. The production of it also helps in the treatment of depression as well as premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
  • Vitamin B7 (biotin) promotes healthier skin, hair and nails and is essential in the manufacturing of DNA and RNA. It also improves blood glucose control and helps in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy.
  • Vitamin B9 (folate) promotes healthy pregnancy, protects the baby against birth defects and reduces the risk of certain types of cancer. It also helps in the formation of healthy white and red blood cells.
  • Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) helps make red blood cells, regulate DNA and is essential for normal functioning of nerves, brain and other body parts. Also, plays a role for cell metabolism. 

Food sources:

  • Vegetables (spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, lettuce, broccoli)
  • Fruits, Seeds & Nuts (avocados, almond nuts, sunflower seeds, peanuts)
  • Meat, Poultry & Organ Meats (beef liver, beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb)
  • Legumes (chickpeas, edamame, black beans, kidney beans, lentils)
  • Whole Grain Products (bread, rice, noodles, flour, brown rice, barley)
  • Seafood (salmon, oysters, clams, mussels, sardines, tuna, trout, crab)
  • Others (brewer's yeast, yoghurt, fortified cereals, mushrooms, eggs, milk)

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READ MORE: Vitamin B3 (Niacin) for Treating Pellagra, Lowering Bad Cholesterol and Boosting Energy

 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C or also known as L-ascorbic acid is essential for the formation of collagen, which is the primary protein that is necessary for our bones, cartilage and connective tissues. This vitamin is an antioxidant that boosts immune system and protects our cells from free radicals where its accumulation generates oxidative stress that is harmful to our body. 

Food sources:

  • Vegetables (peppers, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, snow peas, cauliflower, tomato)
  • Fruits (citrus fruits, guava, papaya, watermelon, kiwi, lychee, strawberries, pineapple, cantaloupe)
  • Juice (orange juice, grapefruit juice, tomato juice, lemon juice)
  • Herbs (cilantro, chives, basil, parsley, thyme)

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READ MORE: Guaranteed Stronger Immunity with Vitamin C

 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin” is not only good for your skin but it also plays a vital role for bone health as it helps in the absorption of calcium and provides bone and muscle support. Even if you are taking enough calcium, it might go to waste if you are running low on vitamin D. Helps maintain normal levels of calcium and phosphorus, also strengthen teeth and bones.

Food Sources:

  • Fatty fish (tuna, mackerel, salmon, sardines, herring, trout)
  • Almond milk, oatmeal and fortified cereals
  • Tofu and soy milk 
  • Beef and liver
  • Mushrooms and oysters
  • Egg yolks and butter
  • Dairy products and yogurt
  • Cod liver oil
  • Orange juice

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 READ MORE: Why Everybody Needs Vitamin D

 

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is the general term for a group of fat-soluble compounds with distinctive antioxidant properties. A lot of studies show that vitamin E is an effective and powerful antioxidant that our body needs which helps protect cells from oxidative stress and free radical damage that is linked to different serious health conditions such as dementia, heart diseases, cancers, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

Food Sources:

  • Seed and Vegetable Oils (wheat germ oil, palm oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil)
  • Vegetables (squash, broccoli, spinach, tomato, turnip greens, sweet potatoes, kale)
  • Fruits (mango, avocado, kiwifruit, acai berry, apricots, seabuckthorn berries) 
  • Nuts & Seeds (sunflower, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, peanuts, quinoa)
  • Others (fortified cereals, peanut butter, almond milk, tomato sauce, sardines, almond butter)

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READ MORE: Vitamin E: Powerful Antioxidant that Benefits the Skin and Cognitive Health

 

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps activate proteins and calcium which are essential to blood clotting and bone health. Vitamin K has two forms, Vitamin K1 or phylloquinone is the primary form which is present in green leafy vegetables. The other form is Vitamin K2 or menaquinones that is present in fermented foods and animal proteins. 

Food Sources:

  • Vegetables (spinach, kale, collards, lettuce, broccoli, carrots)
  • Fruits & Nuts (blueberries, grapes, figs, pine nuts, cashews)
  • Meat & Poultry (beef, pork, chicken, liver, organ meats)
  • Fish (king mackerel, salmon, tuna, herring)
  • Dairy Products (cheese, whole milk, cream, yoghurt)
  • Others (vegetable oils, eggs, natto, soybeans)

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READ MORE: Why you need to add Vitamin K to improve your health?

Disclaimer: The vitamin health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. VitaminsOnly strongly recommends to consult health care professionals for any questions concerning your health.


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